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The Killing of History: How Literary Critics and Social Theorists Are Murdering Our Past
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The Killing of History: How Literary Critics and Social Theorists Are Murdering Our Past

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  71 ratings  ·  12 reviews
For 2,500 years, since the time of Herodotus and Thucydides, historians have sought to record the truth about the past. Today, however, the discipline is suffering a potentially lethal attach from the rise to prominence of an array of French-inspired literary and social theories, each of which denies that truth and knowledge about the past are possible. These theories clai ...more
Hardcover, 298 pages
Published October 1st 1997 by Free Press (first published November 30th 1994)
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Lane Wilkinson
I am a very patient and calm person. So, it is rare for me to read a book that makes me so angry that I have to put it down every ten pages. Honestly, the theories of the lit-crit elite are so infuriating that I have to stop reading to keep my blood pressure down. So, I commend Windschuttle for directly addressing the theorists who are indirectly destroying the academy, and I further commend his attempt at a fair approach. Windschuttle does not denigrate nor does he dismiss the contributions of ...more
DoctorM
A dismal and willfully obtuse rant about the dangers of cultural studies and critical theory by a conservative Australian historian. It's hard in the end to decide what Windschuttle's real complaint is. Is he hostile to theory as such? Is it that he just dislikes methodologies that treat history as a narrative like any other? Or does he just disagree with the results reached by historians using "postmodern" techniques? Several of the examples he cites are certainly open to serious critique as to ...more
Dfordoom
In The Killing of History Keith Windschuttle takes aim at the various silly French intellectual fads that have been infesting our universities in the last few decades and that have been such a blight on our intellectual life.

The structuralists, the semioticians, the post-structuralists, the postmodernists and the rest of this motley crew of pseudo-intellectual frauds are demolished one by one. Windschuttle examines case histories of attempts by these charlatans to replace the traditional academi
...more
Brett Williams
The Totalitarian Era of Political Correctness

The essence of history, writes the author, is that it once tried to tell the truth, to describe as best as possible what really happened. Not anymore. No longer is there a distinction between history and fiction in this, one of many fronts, in the culture wars against Western Civilization. We find a war of atrocities committed by the West upon itself. Most notably in the US where, like any imported species with no natural predators, America has no na
...more
Brian
Wish I'd read this in the 90s. I would've changed careers.
BC
This is a fun book to read, especially if you have to read some of the more 'pomo' stuff for class. Windschuttle takes aim at the culture of literary criticism and cultural studies which is now supplanting traditional history as the backbone of history departments. I found the larger premise of Windschuttle's case solid. He is at his best when he is writing about his own area of knowledge (Australian history), and a bit weak when he ventures outward.

At the end of the day, Windschuttle makes a co
...more
Greg
This book by an Australian author tells the background of literary criticism theories and then proceeds to debunk many of the scholars who use them by showing examples of good scholarship. The side by side comparison of post-modernists writings next to other writings on the same subject is really devastating to the literary critics. I was pretty much thrilled to discover this storehouse of intellectual ammo.
Tom Darrow
Dreadfully painful and dull to read. Ironically, the author is guilty of the offence on which he is writing. By producing literary criticism so dry and dense he has killed my desire to read and even think about history.
Keleigh
I ate this up when I read it in college. Now, I'm not so sure about. Isn't history all based on the perspective of whomever writes it?

At any rate, food for thought.
Allison
Especially good is the chapter on "The return of tribalism" as well as the chapter on "history as Literature." The discussion on Foucault did not excite me.
Ethan
Windschuttle explains ideas well and is fun to read. He seems a bit overly opinionated at times. I'm glad to have read this book though.
Alex
The Killing of History: How Literary Critics and Social Theorists are Murdering Our Past by Keith Windschuttle (2000)
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  • In Defence of History
  • Historians' Fallacies: Toward a Logic of Historical Thought
  • The Idea of History
  • Higher Superstition: The Academic Left and Its Quarrels with Science
  • That Noble Dream: The 'Objectivity Question' and the American Historical Profession
  • Intellectuals and Race
  • A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, Romances and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century
  • Who Owns History?: Rethinking the Past in a Changing World
  • The Beginnings of Western Science: The European Scientific Tradition in Philosophical, Religious, and Institutional Context, 600 B.C. to A.D. 1450
  • Capitalism and the Historians
  • Historiography: Ancient, Medieval, and Modern
  • The Spanish Inquisition: A Historical Revision
  • Lepanto
  • History Wars: The Enola Gay and Other Battles for the American Past
  • Telling the Truth About History
  • Freud and the Non-European
  • Fashionable Nonsense: Postmodern Intellectuals' Abuse of Science
  • The Civil War as a Theological Crisis
Keith Windschuttle is an Australian writer and historian.
More about Keith Windschuttle...
The Fabrication Of Aboriginal History: Volume One: Van Diemen's Land 1803 1847 The Fabrication of Aboriginal History Volume three Writing, Researching, Communicating Education in the U. S. A.: Statistical Comparisons with Australia Education in Canada: Statistical Comparisons with Australia

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